(Image: Winner Brian Zuleta, left, and Art Director Scott Lee of Ubisoft Toronto in front of Zuleta's art piece, 'Stance')
Brian Zuleta, graduate of the Max the Mutt Animation School in Toronto, was named the Ubigallery Artist Apprentice at an Ubisoft Toronto offices and gallery on March 29, 2014, based on a portfolio of work and his concept art pieces.
He was announced at 7 p.m., at the gallery showing of the five finalists' art.
Zuleta's pieces, created with Photoshop, included panoramas such as 'Street', and a profile shot 'Stance', which rely on a lot of dark colours with red as light, which Zuleta said was challenging to create.
“That's tough. Lighting has to be good when you're doing really dark pieces. I guess I was inspired by a lot of old movies like Guyver and Blade Runner, a lot of cyberpunk.”
Ubisoft's Toronto office reached out to Ontario post-secondary institutions in April, requesting students in their final year. There were 50 initially considered, and the five finalists were brought to the offices to have their portfolios reviewed.
“I think Toronto might actually have the best raw pool of talent that I've actually experienced.” said Scott Lee, Art Director for Ubisoft Toronto. “I'm amazed at the depth of talent here."
"We've always had a good relationship with the local schools. Better yet, we really wanted to give an exceptional student graduating an opportunity to work in the office. The response was amazing.”
Zuleta will work with Ubisoft Toronto for three months on an unannounced title, with potential for long-term work.
Ubisoft Toronto selected Zuleta not just for his art, but for his ability to work with others, according to Lee.
“When it came down to Brian, it wasn't necessarily his style, per se, it was his fit. What we were looking for someone who had potential, here was potential.” Lee said. “It was potential for growth, it was potential for fit. That's the reason why with our five finalists we went in for interviews; It's very different than awarding someone for the best image. We were looking for someone who could really grow with us. These guys all had enough talent to make the cut, to hang on our walls and potentially work here, but ultimately we asked 'can we see this person within three months be good enough to do this for a living?' That's what we got out of the interview process.”
“(Brian) really had a breadth of work.” Lee said. “I thought he did environments well, I really found a lot of power in his work. He was also ambitious, and he took on a lot of projects that were difficult to do.”
Zuleta said he is looking forward to working alongside Lee.
“It's fun. I like the environment.” he said. “I love how everyone's really friendly and everyone's really nice. It's just been great. I'm really excited to work here.”